A Rotorua woman high on synthetic drugs when she picked up her baby, swaying from side to side in a "zombie-like state", has been sentenced.

The woman, who has interim name suppression, was sentenced today in Rotorua District Court to six months' home detention in relation to two charges of ill treatment of a child.

The charges relate to the woman's baby and another child's exposure to synthetic drugs and its effects on users in August last year.

Reading the summary of facts, Judge Tony Snell said police were called to the Rotorua address on August 10 to help ambulance staff with a man who had fallen unconscious after consuming synthetic drugs.


He said a woman at the address swore at ambulance staff, telling them to leave, before police warned they would force entry.

"The female homeowner answered the door. Her eyes were bloodshot red, her speech was slurred and she was unsteady on her feet."

Judge Snell said upon entry police discovered a number of adults in various drug-addled states, including the woman being sentenced, who was sitting on the floor next to her baby.

"You turned your back to police and lifted the (baby) up from the floor, swaying side to side, unsteady on your feet. The baby was held around the waist with one hand and the baby's head was not supported.

"Your jostling of the baby and the baby's unsupported head was a major concern for police who took the infant from your arms.

"Your speech was slurred and you were in a zombie-like state. Police told you to sit down before you fell down.

"Police were extremely concerned for the baby, who was very quiet and who's arms were limp."

Judge Snell said during the incident the other child was found "rocking back and forth, fidgety and his eyes were wide open".


A fourth woman found in another room had vomited all over herself and the floor, and entered a psychotic episode for a number of minutes before crying and allowing paramedics to take her to hospital. This was witnessed by the older child.

The children were taken from the address to Oranga Tamariki. On the way, the infant drank a whole bottle of milk and appeared to be extremely hungry. The infant's eyes were glazed over and rolled back in its head twice, Judge Snell said.

He said the incident and passive consumption of drugs by the children had "by luck" not had lasting effects on them.

In sentencing, Judge Snell said the offending was serious and not to be taken lightly.

"You do not accept the alleged offending in its entirety, saying it has been exaggerated. This raises concerns of your level of remorse.

"However, your behaviour since the incident and your pre-sentence report demonstrates that you have attempted to rehabilitate yourself with every opportunity presented to you. I have no doubt through your own actions that you are extremely remorseful.

"You have been deemed at low risk of future offending and have demonstrated that you could be a proper, fit mother."

Judge Snell said allowing the older child to witness the psychotic episode of one of the other women in the house, "grunting and carrying on like a zombie" was "appalling".

"There has been a breach of trust. The role of a mother or father is to protect their child, it is not to expose them to synthetic cannabis and passive consumption."

Judge Snell imposed a further six months' post-detention conditions on the woman, to ensure she was able to attend and complete a parenting programme and an alcohol and drug programme.